Today is a dark, sad day.
I never entertained the thought that Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys wouldn’t get better. He HAD to. But he didn’t. And today, at the young age of 47, we lost MCA.
I. Am. Devastated.
It was in my blog bucket list to do a post on the Beastie Boys. I had joked that I should really just have a separate blog to write about them, because I have so much to say. I hate that this is why I’m finally doing it.
The Beastie Boys are all wrapped up my mind with other memories. Driving my first car, laughing with high school friends, the early days of MTV, dying my hair with Sharkleberry Fin Kool-Aid. I lectured my younger sisters on the importance of the Beastie Boys and insisted on one Beastie song on my wedding album. Song for Junior made the cut. They’ve dominated my ring tones for years.
The first (and last) time I crowd-surfed was at a Beasties concert. Crowd surfing is terrifying, by the way.
Every album is special to me, but Check Your Head and Ill Communication are the ones I connect with the most. The last time I saw them live was in Philadelphia at an outdoor show. It was really hot out, but it didn’t stop them from rocking their suits on stage, and it didn’t stop people from spinning on their heads in the breakdancing tent. I screamed myself hoarse when they played Paul Revere, which they rarely did live. I always thought that song should be illustrated into a comic book, another of my bucket list items. I need to learn how to draw first…
MCA had the deepest and most soothing voice of the three. Mike D and Ad-Rock both have a lovable whiney quality and MCA kept their sound balanced and serious, like him. Their sometimes goofy lyrics were reflective of their lives, and they portrayed New York City in the most real, honest way. As they matured, they brought their fans with them.
MCA practiced Buddhism and tirelessly advocated for oppressed Tibetans. I saw a group of Tibetan monks perform with the Beastie Boys and my world opened up a little bit.
I missed them in recent years, as so much time passed between albums. When news of MCA’s cancer came out in 2009, it started to make sense. And I understood why his voice was raspy and mixed to distortion on their last album, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2. And I was saddened by his absence at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But I was not prepared.
When I heard the news this morning I cried my eyes out. I cried for Adam’s short life. I cried because the word “ill” has taken on a new meaning. I cried for the rhymes that have been silenced. Because the Beastie Boys are over. They cannot go on without him. So we have to mourn both Adam and the band. And it’s just terrible.